The GPR2C – Global Platform for the Right to the City is promoting an important debate about the implementation of the Right to the City on a regional perspective in Johannesburg, South Africa, on November 28th, 2015. The Regional Meeting in Africa will be held at University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), at the Dorothy Suskind Auditorium, John Moffat Building, from 8 am until 6 pm. The access is through Yale Road (from either Jorrisen or Empire Wits East Campus). The meeting is hosted by Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies (CUBES).
The event comes on a strategic moment, when a lot of countries meet in South Africa to participate at Africities Summit 2015 , an event that brings, one day after, several entities to discuss the inclusion of this cornerstone theme in African countries.
Around 60 participants will be together at GPR2C event, representing Angola, Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe South Africa and also Brazil, Italy and United Kingdom. They are from different working fields – social movements representatives, academics, human rights defenders, public authorities, among others. The Deputy Minister of Human Settlements of South Africa, Ms Zou Kota-Fredericks will be attending the conference.
Pat Horn, coordinator of Streetnet International, entity focused on workers in the informal economy and based on Johannesburg, emphasizes the importance to enforce the Right to the City in African cities. “We are not yet seeing the practical application of the inclusive urban policies and participatory processes that were being spoken about by African Mayors at the UCLG conference in Rabat [Morocco] in November 2013, as far as the right of street vendors and informal traders to their secure work space in public space in their cities.”
For Wiego, an effective planning must include consultation with the full range of public space stakeholders to be representative and inclusive. The organization will bring to the meeting issues regarding public spaces as a point of intervention to promote inclusiveness and enable the voices of the poor to be heard in urban planning, housing and slum upgrading, governance and basic services projects.
In note, the International Network IAI (International Alliance of Inhabitants) considers that the growing slums in Africa together with massive evictions as of the not so recent Nigeria case, shows the difference between a good proposal and a given hard reality of human rights violations. “If we want to win this challenge, it is necessary to do the right mobilization of all the stakeholders, inhabitants on the front line together with their demands, proposals, and their day to day rhythm grounded on the human and environmental rights, not on the neo-liberal and neo-colonial principles and policies.”
Local building of the New Urban Agenda
In the Regional Meeting in Africa, the GPR2C also intends to involve the organizations of the region and identify potential participants from Africa region to discuss the New Habitat Agenda building, in a regional perspective, and share information among the participants about all processes of Habitat III (Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development) such as the reports available and strategies developed by civil society.
The Regional Meeting aims to:
- Present the Global Platform for the Right to the City and disseminate its principles, goals and actions, strengthening regional alliances and inviting new organizations to join;
- Discuss the meaning of the Right to the City in the region and conduct capacity-building activities (i.e., learning) on the conceptual, legal and institutional dimensions of this right, based on findings from the research conducted by HIC and Polis Institute, which analyzed these dimensions within case studies from Latin America, Europe and Africa (full text available here);
- Promote an exchange of experiences on policies, projects and actions that implement the Right to the City;
- Review the Global Platform´s Action Plan in order to localize, interpret and complement it consistent with the regional participants’ priorities and other regional specificities.
- Analyze setbacks, challenges and/or particular regional developments (national and regional reporting, consultation with civil society, evaluating Habitat II commitments, etc.) in the Habitat III process New Habitat Agenda;
- Share information about the discussion processes and documents relating to the Right to the City within the Habitat III Conference, preparatory process and follow-up (e.g., partnerships, implementation, monitoring and reporting against targets and indicators).
Download here the event´s program.
Global Platform for the Right to The City